Merkel Offers Support for Climate Change Legislation

Posted June 26, 2009 at 12:20pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel waded into the House climate change bill debate Friday morning, saying she is firmly behind the legislation and revealing that she privately wished President Barack Obama luck on it during their discussions at the White House.

“I said that this is, indeed, a sea change that I see, this upcoming bill anticipated today in the House on climate, that this really points to the fact that the United States are very serious on climate,— Merkel said during a brief press conference with Obama in the East Room after their morning talks. “I hope that you will come to a good result when the vote is taken.—

Later in the press conference, Merkel appeared to be more cognizant of the potential sensitivity of a foreign leader weighing in on legislation being considered in Congress. Asked of the consequences if the legislation fails to pass the House and Senate, she said: “Well, you will understand my refraining from commenting in any way on the behavior of Members of parliament who … are free in their decisions. That would be totally counterproductive.—

Obama, for his part, said the United States hasn’t gone far enough to tackle the issue and that the energy bill being considered Friday by the House is a step in the right direction. Democratic leaders are continuing to try to whip the necessary 218 votes for their climate change measure.

“Europe in many ways over the last several years has moved more rapidly than the United States in addressing this issue,— Obama said.

“This legislation we are seeking to pass indicates enormous progress from where we have been,— he said. “I’d be the first one to acknowledge that over the last several years the United States has not been where it ought to be.—